Philosophy for the guilty
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
This course may include content that some learners may find of a sensitive or challenging nature.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HP128
Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)
What is the course about?
Our own moral failings often prompt us to ask big questions. When we have stepped over our own sense of ourselves, the need to ask things like ‘Can you be a good person if you do bad things?’ or ‘Are regrets worth the same as apologies?’ becomes more immediate.
This course is for any human being alive to their own imperfection who wants to make sense of themselves.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
We will cover questions that speak to the issue of guilt, such as:
Can you be a good person if you do bad things?
Does loving require judgment?
Is shame necessary?
Is innocence a failing?
Is it weak to regret?
Are right and wrong a fiction?
Are only the unforgivable worthy of forgiveness?
Can laughter rescue us from tragedy?
What do we mean by the term victim?
Are somethings worth more than goodness?
Is hope a prison?
Are you born with a past?
Can you apologise for the sins of your father?
We will turn to ideas from Weil, Sartre, Sontag, Nietzsche, Aristotle, Cioran, De Beauvoir and others to help us build our own philosophy for the guilty.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
1. Students will finish the course with a more intimate knowledge of their own beliefs and ideas around guilt.
2. Students will leave with foundational skills about how to have a philosophical conversation and what makes it different to other types of conversation.
3. Students will have a grasp of the main ideas of key figures from French and German philosophy.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is for all levels.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Sessions take the form of facilitated discussions. The first part of each class is exploratory, with time given by the tutor/facilitator for learners to feel their way around topics and philosophical ideas and extend their understanding. The second part focuses on a text from a philosopher to unpack and debate. The tutor will offer and suggest reading prior to and after the class, though it isn’t compulsory to do it.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No other costs. You might want to bring notetaking materials.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You might be interested in The philosophy of love and sex (HP129), starting in January 2022.
Andy West is in his mid-thirties and still doesn't have any decent answers to life’s main philosophical questions. He hopes that by asking his students ‘Do we have freewill?’ and ‘How do we know if we exist?’ then he will get closer to finding out if he has freewill or if he really exists. He taught philosophy to children for six years and has spent the last few years teaching in prisons. He joined the the City Lit in 2018. He’s currently writing a book for Picador about teaching philosophy in prisons, due to be released in February 2022. He has written for The Guardian, 3AM Magazine, Boundless and Bloomsbury Academic Publishing. Find him on twitter @AndyWPhilosophy
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.